Stella Childs (she/her) is a Chicago-based violinist and singer-songwriter. She began playing the violin at age nine and was a member of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra from 2011-2018. In her time at EYSO, Stella played in every orchestral ensemble from Prelude to Youth Symphony, was concertmaster of Youth Symphony, winner of the Young Artist Concerto Competition, and first violinist of the Hanson String Quartet and Maud Powell String Quartet. She understands from first-hand experience the formative power of the educational experience that EYSO cultivates for its students, and is excited to be a part of the organization as Chamber Music Institute Director.
Stella earned a Bachelor’s in Music: Violin Performance from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC) where she studied with Meg Freivogel McDonough of the Jupiter String Quartet from 2018-2022. As a member of the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra, directed by Donald Schleicher, Stella held many positions, including Principal Second Violinist and Assistant Concertmaster. She was also a vocalist, violinist and mandolinist in Balkanalia, directed by Dr. Donna Buchanan, a violinist in the Improviser’s Exchange Ensemble, directed by Jason Finkleman, and a member of the Soprano I section of the Women’s Glee Club, directed by Dr. Andrea Solya.
From 2019-2022, Stella was a member of the second violin section of the Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra, directed by Stephen Alltop, and a substitute private violin, viola and piano instructor at the Champaign School of Music.
Stella was the winner of the Thomas J. Smith Scholarship Competition (2020) and the recipient of the Chip Davis-Mannheim Steamroller Orchestra Award (2018 and 2022), the Joyce Dustin Baltz Scholarship Fund (2020), and the Susan Starrett Scholarship in Violin (2019 and 2020). She graduated with James Scholar Honors from the College of Fine and Applied Arts.
Currently, Stella is an instructor at the Old Town School of Folk Music where she teaches Wiggleworms©, fiddle group classes, and private violin and piano lessons.
As a singer-songwriter, Stella combines her classical violinist background with her lifelong love of folk music, her studies in fairy tales and folklore, and her belief in mental health advocacy.